In every history of every parent there is a moment when a child becomes a part of the family. I love hearing everyone's story because they are all so different. Some involve a LOT of waiting. Some don't. Our friend Dave was coached by his wife's doctor on what to have ready at home in case he had to deliver their third child. His wife's labors had never gone over the one hour mark. I love the stories!
Several months before my due date I went to see my doctor to talk about my "birth plan". I was very apprehensive about the labor and delivery process because of the experience that I had with Princess. (Here's that story in a nutshell: she was induced two weeks early because the sonogram revealed that she was fairly big and I am not, I pushed for two and a half hours resulting in a pinched nerve in my left leg which caused me to be on crutches for over a week - I literally could not stand to change a diaper for the first two weeks of her life, and I had a third degree episiotomy tear that took forever and a day to heal. No fun. There's a reason she and her brother are three years apart.) So I discussed a c-section with my doctor. He was supportive, but he wanted me to really think about it carefully. I started praying about it that day and I got an answer from God - "Trust Me." Not the answer I wanted. Too vague! I wanted specifics! But I knew that was all I was going to get. I eventually told my doctor that the only way I'd want an automatic c-section was if my son was face-up. Princess was face-up and I think that's where all the hardship started.
Now, fast-forward to June 2. We had a sonogram scheduled at 2:00 and then a follow-up with the doctor at 2:30. From the sonogram they learned that Buddy was already hovering around seven pounds - at 35 weeks 4 days! Whew! Also, he was face-down. Yay! During the doctor visit we started talking about when we'd induce since Buddy was getting big. Princess was induced at 38 weeks (the earliest that they will induce) because she was so big. I guess I just start cooking overtime around month 8! Anyway, the doctor checked and I was 2 cm dilated and 70% effaced. Hubby mentioned that he had a business trip scheduled for later in the week and the nurse said that he shouldn't go anywhere. Then Hubby sealed our fate and said, "Well she's NOT going to have the baby this week!" To which the nurse just laughed and told me that I had better have a bag packed.
That evening Hubby and Princess were going to go help some friends move a couch and I was going to a small diaper shower that a friend of mine had planned for me. I was in the garage at 6:15 p.m. waving good-bye to Hubby and Princess as they backed down our driveway and my water broke. I signaled for Hubby to stop the car and I told him that I thought my water broke. He wasn't convinced. His exact words were, "That's not possible. Go check." So I dutifully went in to the bathroom to check. What exactly I was checking for is not clear. My pants were soaked. I could have told him that in the driveway! No baby head sticking out. Just wet pants. So I went back out and he said he'd stick around until I called the doctor. Well, the doctor wanted me to come in to the hospital just in case so Hubby and a now crying Princess (she was really excited about riding in Daddy's truck with a couch) came back inside.
My brother and his wife and family live less than five minutes from our house so they came over to help out with Princess. I was in such shock that I could actually be having the baby that I just couldn't think of what to pack. My sister-in-law coached me through it - she found a list in my "What to Expect When You're Expecting" book and we checked off the list together. After about 30 minutes of packing, I was in the kitchen showing her where breakfast bars were when the first real contraction hit. Whoa buddy. That's when sis-in-law said, "Okay, you guys have to go NOW!" and we did. She's had three kids - the first two came so quickly that she didn't have time for the epidural. When she said NOW, I knew it was serious!
The contractions started to get worse on the way to the hospital. By the time we got there they were between two and four minutes apart and really starting to get bad. We had to walk about TWO MILES from the elevators to the labor and delivery admitting desk - of course stopping every minute or so for a contraction. The nurse met us and got us settled into a room pretty quickly and then the paperwork started. We had registered at another hospital but had to switch at the last minute because the doctor on call was on his way to the second hospital to deliver another baby. So in between horrendous contractions I had to answer all sorts of paperwork questions and then try to hold a pen and sign stuff. The contractions kept getting more and more intense until finally I could barely even breathe.
Yes, contractions are extremely painful. I was very surprised at how painful they were. I did not get to the painful contraction stage with Princess. Because she was induced, I was able to get the epidural before any of the hard stuff started. So I did NOT know ANYTHING about true labor! When I had asked my mom about her contractions, she told me that they were painful, but it was a sweet pain. That with every pain she knew she was one step closer to being a mommy. Awww. I don't know what planet she gave birth on thirty-eight years ago. There's nothing sweet about that pain. Those suckers HURT! And it's not like it is in the movies. I couldn't have screamed if I had wanted to - I had no breath! And I am thoroughly convinced that a MAN devised the Lamaze system. Yes, I did need to breathe during the contractions. I'm sure that oxygen would have helped. How anyone can breathe when their abdominal muscles are doing their best impression of a boa constrictor swallowing an elephant I will never know.
I'm sure that it is very disturbing to see the person you love most in the world writing in pain and knowing that you can't do anything to help. Hubby did try to help at one point by starting the chant, "Breathe. Breathe. Breathe with the contraction." I'm not sure exactly how I mustered the breath or the strength to talk at that point, but I know I looked at him and said, "You have to stop talking." My husband is wonderful. He did. Then a few contractions later Hubby very politely asked me to change my grip on his hand because the two-handed grip of the moment spelled a broken thumb in his near future. After every contraction I would apologize to everyone in the room for either being rude or for actually physically hurting them. Yes, I kept asking for the epidural and was promised that it would happen soon. The nurse actually said, "Sweetie, we need to make sure you're in active labor." A Linda Blair voice came out of my body. "I AM!" I finally got the epidural about 9:15 and it immediately started to work. Yay! It was a great epidural. I could feel no pain, but I could feel the pressure of the contractions so that really helped me a lot with the pushing later. (I found out later that during the time that the doctor was giving me the epidural I pulled my nurse's hair. I had a contraction and I thought I grabbed only her shirt. Turns out I grabbed a handful of hair, too. Again, I apologized.)
On a side note, they had this ridiculous pain chart that they referenced every time I said I hurt. It had little "happy" faces on it depicting varying degrees of pain from zero to ten. At ten the "smiley face" was crying. I told the nurse that my pain went to eleven. She didn't get it, but Hubby laughed.
For the next 45 minutes or so I dozed and just relaxed. Remember, I pushed with Princess for 2 1/2 hours so I was resting up for what could have been another marathon. At about 10:30 - during Leno's monologue - the doctor came in and checked me and I was at 10 cm! (Why he promptly left, I don't know. Although he only needs to be there to catch the baby. The nurse does all of the push coaching.) So at 10:33 I started pushing. I pushed through one contraction and then the nurse told me to wait. She said that she could see the head coming down and everything looked great. When I felt the next contraction coming I asked if she wanted me to push and she said no! So then Hubby, the nurse and I started taking bets for when we thought Buddy would make it into the world. I said I thought it would be 11:00. Hubby said 10:35. He didn't think that Leno would get through his monologue! The nurse wouldn't commit. I wound up only pushing through every third contraction. They sent for the doctor after the third push, he came in and one more push I had the head out then one small push and there was Buddy at 10:49! It was a much calmer and relaxed delivery than Princess! They lay Buddy right on my stomach, covered in goo and crying his head off! Then Hubby actually cut the cord. That was amazing! We were all joking and laughing and excited and no one was scared or stressed at all! He was 7 pounds 5 ounces at one month early. Wow. Praise to God that Buddy did not go full term!
Because he was so early, they had to do all of the preemie tests on him. (Each nurse that came to get him would look at him and say, "Are you sure you had the date right?" Yes. My husband had had several business trips that previous fall. He was home during just the right week!) Buddy sailed through all of the tests with flying colors. Yep, I just turn the oven up the last trimester!
My recovery was just as easy as the birth. I wasn't on crutches - I was walking around the room almost as soon as we moved to the mother/baby wing. I could actually sit down and not want to cry! A week later at home Princess and I were dancing together in the backyard!
I am just praising God for the way He took such good care of us! He said, "Trust Me" and what a blessing that I did! There were so many things that didn't go the way I wanted - a different hospital, my doctor wasn't on call so another doctor in the practice delivered us, Buddy was a whole MONTH early so we had a ton of stuff left to do - but I wouldn't change anything because it was all so perfect! God just knows exactly what we need and He is delighted to give it to us. Even if we put in an order for something different.
Oh, and here's the icing on the cake. As I was leaving the hospital on Wednesday I saw my anesthesiologist in the hallway. I told him that he was one of my favorite people and that his epidural was right on the money. I asked what his name was so that I could record it in Buddy's baby book. He told me and it turns out he and I worked together at a haunted house when we were both in high school! I went home and found a picture of us together - get this - 20 years ago! That picture is going in Buddy's book! Ha! Small world! Hubby said, "Well, looks like he's still coming after people with long sharp objects!"